Are you a rock-star salesperson or just a garage-band salesperson?
Rock stars seldom drop prices. Selling tickets and merchandise isn't a struggle. Fans line up for hours to buy tickets and over-pay ridiculously for the band's tour t-shirt. The rock star salesperson makes more money, works smarter, and has more fun.
Here are five vital lessons you can take away from legendary rock stars and apply directly to your sales career.
1. Sell an experience, not a product or service. Jimmy Buffett fans don't show up to his shows each summer to hear "Margaritaville" one more time. Jimmy Buffett creates an experience for his fans, turning each show into a three-hour escape from reality and allowing his "Parrothead" fans to experience the beach-bum lifestyle for a night. Because the music is secondary to the experience of the sun, drinks, friends and fun, Jimmy sells out night after night, summer after summer.
When you sell an experience to your customers, price stops being an issue. So does competition. If nobody else can provide the experience you provide, you essentially have no direct competition.
2. Intentionally limit supply. Billy Joel is playing Madison Square Garden as a resident artist. For one night each month, Joel plays the Garden. The shows are already sold out through the end of 2014! Playing once per month makes each date special, and Joel could probably sell out once a month for decades. By limiting supply to once per month, Joel will play far more shows (at a far greater profit) than if he were to play The Garden night after night.
Do your customers feel a sense of urgency to work with you? Urgency cannot be false hype. It needs to be an honest urgency based on a real lack of inventory. Faking urgency is deadly, and it puts you in the dreaded used car salesman heap.
3. Be exceptionally consistent. For 40 years, AC/DC has played three-chord rock anthems about drinkin', women, partyin' and rockin'. There are no AC/DC songs about famine in Africa or angst in your heart. Through disco, glam rock, new wave, punk, hair bands, grunge and boy bands, AC/DC has survived. When AC/DC goes on tour, they sell milliions of tickets to fans who know exactly what to expect when they show up at the stadium.
Your clients need to know what to expect from you. The only time that they should be surprised is when you over-deliver at a level they've never experienced before, and even that over-deliver should be precisely in-line with what they have come to expect from you.
4. Maximize word-of-mouth by being remarkable relentlessly. If you want people to buy from you, and tell other people about you, you'll need to be remarkable on a regular basis. For Bruce Springsteen, that means playing long, energy-driven shows filled with singalong classics and surprising cover versions. When Springsteen does his own take on Lorde's hit "Royals", the social universe goes wild with sharing. When Springsteen plays for four hours, thousands of fans talk about the remarkable show they just experienced.
People will talk about you when you are relentlessly remarkable, especially if you give them the means to talk about you. You should be using social media wisely to allow your clients to share with others the great things that you've shared with them.
5. Nurture your tribe. The Grateful Dead create the first rock fan club in the early '70s when they invited their fans to share their mailing address with the band. The Dead responded by sending these fans early previews of new music, updates on what they were doing and the opportunity to interact with the band. The Deadheads grew into a breathing community that lives today, long after lead singer Jerry Garcia passed away and the band folded. The Grateful Dead also allowed their fans to record their concerts. Instead of hurting concert ticket sales (which was the prevailing opinion at the time), the sharing of bootlegs actually resulted in more tickets sold!
Develop a mailing list, Facebook group and LinkedIn Group through which to share valuable information with your clients. Like The Grateful Dead, share freely. If you have information that can help your customers, share it with them -- even if there is no immediate upside for you. You'll be building trust and loyalty.